***Part Eight***

"Stupid, stupid, stupid," Buffy mumbled under her breath as she walked through the last cemetery of the night.

"Buffy, stop beating yourself up."

"That's easy for you to say, Dawn, you're not the one that continually gets your heart ripped to shreds. I don't know why I just can't get over him."

"Because you love him."

"I love him, but he obviously doesn't love me."

"Buffy, that's so not true."

Connor and Angel had gone off to patrol on their own leaving Buffy and Dawn alone. That was fine with Buffy. The last thing she needed was to spend the entire night's patrol with Angel with that kiss they shared fresh on her mind.

"I'm such an idiot."

"Buffy, you're not. He loves you. As someone who had front row seats to your little show earlier that was a pretty steamy kiss. How could you think he feels otherwise?"

"Because he keeps walking away."

"Maybe he won't this time."

"I've told myself that a few times, Dawn, and he keeps leaving."


"It's okay. I just have to stop throwing myself at his feet. Or into his arms. Or being near him."

"You're being too hard on yourself. I mean, you were brought back for him, so I'd think that would mean something."

Buffy shrugged. "The Powers That Be work in strange ways, Dawn. I don't know. Angel seems to think he was just an excuse to bring me back. That there's something big coming that they needed me for."

"Oh," Dawn said simply. Buffy glanced sidelong at her sister and saw she was processing that statement. She probably thought by defeating Glory the apocalypses would end for a while. Buffy hated to break it to her, but it didn't happen that way. There was always another one brewing.

"Yeah. About Connor."

"What about him?"

"You know he's leaving, right?"

"Sure. Why?"

"You seemed to be getting pretty friendly. I just don't want to see you get hurt."

"Are you crazy? Buffy, I don't get to talk to many guys my age about the stuff we do. It's just neat to finally be able to. And he's super strong. What's up with that?"

"I don't know. I don't think Angel does either."

"Anyway, no, we're good. I mean, he's cute and all, but the whole he was a baby thing is just a little strange."

"And your being a ball of energy a couple of years ago isn't?"

"Well, okay, I guess when you put it like that. What isn't strange around here?"

"Do what you want Dawn. If you like him, don't let me stop you. I just wanted to be sure you knew he is leaving. But there's no curse or one of you living forever thing going on for the two of you. One of us Summers' girls deserves to be happy."

"You don't think you'll be happy with anyone but Angel?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. I've been trying. You know how hard I've been trying."


"I just haven't met anyone that makes me want to see them again."

"What about the guy at The Bronze earlier?"

"Chase. He was a friend of Riley's, or one of his Initiative buddies anyway. Riley's married, by the way."

"He's what? And you're just telling me this now?"

"I just found out at The Bronze."

"Oh. Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"You don't think that's what led to your kissing Angel like that, do you?"

Now that Dawn said that Buffy wasn't so sure about her reasons. "Who am I kidding? I'd love for that to be the reason, but no. I'm pretty pathetic, aren't I?"

"No, you're one of the most unpathetic people I know, Buffy. You can't help how you feel."

"It isn't so bad when I don't see him."

"Well, he'll be gone again soon, right?"


"Well, then you can work harder at moving on."

"I don't know how much more I can do, Dawn, but I'll keep trying. That's all I can do, right?"

"Yes. Do you think they're going to work it out?"

Buffy shrugged slightly as they headed out of the cemetery and headed in the direction that would take them home. She wasn't sure if Angel was going to go back to her house or to the mansion. They had said little after the kiss. Buffy had a hard time not bursting into tears at the casual way he seemed to dismiss the fact they couldn't be together when Connor asked.

She didn't believe it was that easy for him either. The way he kissed her back and touched her told her that. So how was he able to be so matter of fact about it?

"I don't know, Dawn. I hope for both their sakes they do. Connor is confused. He was raised by someone who hated Angel, good reason or not. He was not able to see that Angel really had changed, that he really was working for the greater good. I can't blame him for hating Angel, but he's beginning to see there's more to the story."

"He seems nice."

"He may seem that way, but remember he's very angry, too. And he was raised differently than we were."

"I wasn't raised to begin with."

"You know what I mean. You weren't raised on hate and fear. You knew Mom and I loved you."

"Yes," Dawn said softly.

"I don't think Connor ever had that. And then there's the whole product of two vampires thing. He's not sure he's human, but neither am I. He seems to believe human equals good and non-human equals evil. But it really bugs him that somewhere in there he might be evil."

"Did he tell you that?"

"He didn't have to. It's how I beat him at the dunes, it's a weakness. Like a scab anyone would just have to pick at that chink in his armor and he'd be beaten."

"What if you and Angel could be together?"

Buffy sighed heavily. "Dawn, Angel's right. It's just not possible. The whole soul thing aside. He's made it clear he's out of the game. I'm not sure why exactly beyond his excuse he wants me to have a normal life."

"Have you told him about the changes?"

"What changes?"



"You can't hide things from me. I know you're different. You don't ever sleep, or not very much. You hardly eat."


"Buffy. You used to come home from patrol and pig out because you were so hungry."

"Okay, there are differences."

"I knew it."

"Stop being so smug. And yes I told him. It's the reason he thinks something big might be coming."

"I've gotten good with the research."

"I know you have."


Buffy thought it over. What could it hurt? "Better hearing, better sight, stronger, more stamina."

"I'll get on it when we get home. This is so cool."

"Okay." She thought Dawn sounded a little too excited at the prospect of researching her sister like she was some sort of experiment.

"What do you think it is?"

"I don't know. If I did I wouldn't need you researching it."

"Okay. Does Angel have any ideas?"

"Just what I mentioned earlier, something big might be on the horizon that will require the slayer to have the added benefits the vampire has."


"Not really. I don't like getting less human as I grew older."

"Okay, well, I think it's cool. I mean, I could see where it wouldn't be for you, but from a research stand point. It's never dull with you around."

"Glad I can keep you busy."

"What are sisters for."


They were home now. Buffy opened the door and walked inside still not sure what Angel's plans were for the rest of the night. "He probably doesn't want to see me again."

"Don't be silly, Buffy. He so wants to see you again. After a kiss like that who wouldn't want to?"

"Angel," she mumbled unhappily. She had not bothered telling Dawn about the fiasco the night Angel left for LA. She had been an idiot, disrobing in front of him. She may as well have hung a sign outside her door that read SLUT in big bold letters.

"You're being too hard on yourself, Buffy. He keeps coming back, so he must not be upset or anything."

"Upset about what?"

"Speak of the devil," Buffy murmured.

"I am not related to him and have never met him, contrary to popular belief."

She rolled her eyes. "I wasn't sure you were coming back tonight."

"Connor wanted to come back here. So, I thought I'd do a swap."

"A what?"

"Drop Connor off and pick you up."

"Where are you taking me?"

"Wouldn't you like to know?"

He sounded as if he was teasing her. How he could be so care free about this was beyond her. "Well, yeah, I would."

"Just come with me, Buffy."

She glanced at Dawn who gave a slight nod, pushing her in the direction she was not sure her heart could take if she went there again. "Okay."

"You look like you're scared of me, Buffy. I'm not going to bite."

"I know."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah," she said, swallowing hard to get past the lump in her throat. This was the part where he told her he had to go. That he didn't want to go but he had to because it was the best thing to do. The right thing to do. She knew the speech in all its variations by heart. "I'll be back later, Dawn."

"Okay, I'm guessing I know where to find you if I need you."

"You'd be guessing right," Angel offered as he took hold of her hand and led her to his car. He opened the door for her and she slid inside praying she wouldn't cry this time. The short time it took for him to drive from her house to the mansion seemed to drag on forever. She wasn't sure why he felt the need to bring her here when they both knew what was going to happen.

She watched as he lit a fire in the fireplace. The back of his shirt stretching taut and then slackening as his arms moved. She could sit here and watch him do anything for hours and not get bored. She was a sad and pathetic woman. She was strong enough to beat up on most any human yet she could not close her heart to the vampire in front of her.

"I wanted to talk to you for a while."

"Okay," she said, bracing herself for what was to come.

"Connor and I will be going back tomorrow."

"I expected that."

"I know you did. I wanted to thank you for talking to him, for calling me, and just for everything in general. I'm not sure what you said but he seems to want to get to know me, to give me a chance."

"I think he came to that conclusion on his own. I just helped a little."

"Well, whatever happened, I appreciate your help."

"No problem."

"I want to ask a favor of you."

"Anything. You know that."

"This one may be difficult."

"What is it?"

"Don't get serious with anyone."

"Excuse me," she said, staring at him in disbelief.

"I'm going to try and tend to things in my life. Days ago I would never have believed Connor fell into the easiest category. But now all I have to do is prove to him that what he's learned is not all lies."


"And then I'd like to try to figure out what happened to Cordelia."

"Okay. And where does my not getting serious with anyone fit into this."

"I just need to process, Buffy. I'm asking for some time. I don't know what's going on with you, but I want to be here for you. And I'll be honest here, I don't know if I could come here knowing you're sleeping with another guy."

"I don't want to sleep with another guy."

"I know that. I do. But Connor mentioned that Dawn told him you've been a bit exuberant with your dating since you've been back."

"I'm going to kill her."

"No, I think she was hoping Connor would tell me so that I'd know you really were taking the steps to move past us. Me."


He sat next to her on the couch and slid a hand to her cheek. She met his gaze, so intense she could feel his eyes piercing her right down to her soul. "It's not fair and I have no right, but I'm asking for now. Until we can figure out what's going on."

"We may never figure out what's going on."

"That's true," he said and Buffy had to wonder if he'd already thought of that.

"What is it you want from me, Angel?"

He leaned toward her then and just like that he kissed her. As usual the world stopped on its axis and everything ceased to exist for her but Angel. Her eyes fluttered closed and she shifted on the couch. His arm was under her and he slid her so she was completely under him. She let out a muffled gasp when his hand closed over her breast. There was no hesitation in his touch and her body respond to his unspoken demand.

"So hot," he whispered. She agreed. His hand electrified her and made her feel as though she was on fire. She arced into him, a leg draping around his calf to keep him close, her body begging his for completion. No words were necessary for either of them.

She reached between them and fumbled with the fastening and zipper of his jeans. She let out a low growl when the task was completed. Finally, she was able to slide her hand inside the confines of his jeans and touch him. Her hand found the head and cupped it, caressing his shaft with her fingertips.

He broke the kiss much to Buffy's disappointment until she felt his mouth at her neck. She felt the tip of a fang graze her scar and knew he had vamped out. Instead of frightening her or putting a damper on things arousal flooded her body like a tidal wave. She trusted him not to hurt her.

The skirt she wore had traveled to a height barely covering her waist but she did not care. She used her hands to push his jeans down around his hips so the only thing acting as a barrier was their underwear. Hers was just a tiny red thong and easily gotten past if Angel was of the mind. And, god, she hoped he was of the mind.

Everywhere he touched she ached for him, burned like nothing she had ever experienced. Parker and Riley just didn't come close to doing to her what Angel could. How could she ever hope to find someone else to replace him when she responded this way only to him?

His hands skimmed over her body gently in some places and more demanding in others. She felt as if she was a temple and he was worshiping her. She couldn't remember feeling so loved. Or so aroused. She was slick from wanting him, which he discovered when he slid a fingertip inside of her.

He hissed when her body clenched around him, trying to draw him in deeper. He trailed wet kisses along her collarbone. Her body was burning so hot she was surprised the trail of moisture he left behind did not come to a boil right there on her skin.

She slid her leg up higher along his, using her foot to slide his jeans still lower. She wanted him so badly it hurt to think about this not coming to completion. She was vaguely aware of his hands at her hips, light pressure bearing down on her pelvis area and suddenly there he was, thick, hard and bare against her inner thigh.

Agile fingers pushed the slip of satin fabric acting as their only barrier aside and finally he was there. She was ready for him, had been for close to five years now. She felt him as he entered her, her female folds welcoming him.

He slid completely into her, filling her so completely she thought she would die from the pleasure of it all. He remained still for a moment, which only served to frustrate her because she wanted all of him.

"Buffy," he whispered. He raised his head from her neck still in his vampire form, licking the tip of his fang. "I'm so sorry."

She was about to ask him what he had to apologize for when he imbedded his fangs into her neck. She cried out, seeing stars as he began to thrust in and out of her almost violently. She gave as good as she took, moving under him, driving her body into his only serving to bring him deeper, harder into her. All the while he was drinking her life's blood and she was so turned on by it she couldn't have stopped him if she had wanted to.

Large hands stroked a nipple with his thumb, causing a wave of arousal to rush through her body again. This only served to make him wilder, more out of control which brought her closer to the edge. It had been so long. She couldn't remember ever feeling this close to someone, this apart of something so intimate. Their first time she had been an inexperienced girl and she knew now he had held back immensely. Tonight he held nothing back.

"Angel," she cried out in time with her body's release. Waves of passion rolled off her, her arousal far from satisfied with her climax. Instead she found it building again, the heat coursing through her, sparking from her body to his. And for a moment she thought she felt the thump of a heartbeat under her hand at his chest.

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